I have had the pleasure of meeting SO many people through social media. My partner…
If you’ve been following along on my Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve just spent two months in paradise aka Bali. In between sunset drinks, margaritas every day and spending weekends at beach clubs – yes, that’s the truth, and yes, I REALLY REALLY now need to stop drinking cocktails, get healthy and get back into a routine – I had quite a lot of time to think.
One thing that was particularly on my mind whilst I was over there was how MANY restaurants, bars and cafes there are on the Island. Honestly, Bali must have more places to eat per square metre than just about anywhere else in the world. It’s one of the reasons I love it so much – regardless of your budget, your taste in food, whether you’re after tacos or smoothie bowls or all you can eat or cocktails or $1 Bintangs – you can get it.
As a result of the sheer quantity of places though, competitive is FIERCE.
This means are some places that seem to attract hordes of people every day with lines out the door, whilst others are deathly quiet. I care far too much about, well, pretty much everything, and it really made my heart hurt to see the empty restaurants with eager staff desperately trying to bring people in the door.
The competition between venues has forced most places to significantly lift their game in order to attract business. Most places servicing tourists have invested significantly in things like interior design and styling to ensure that they stand out.
As a result, Bali would have to be one of the most Instagrammable places in the world!
After having far too much time to think and spending far too much time eating my breakfasts, lunches and dinners in full – and empty – restaurants and cafes from Seminyak to Canggu, I decided to put together a podcast episode on some of the things that the FULL ones are doing well.
Because, frankly? They are nailing it, and the reason that they are doing so really comes back to understanding and leveraging some very basic – but often overlooked social media and marketing concepts.
So, let’s get back to basics and go through five things that I have seen Bali restaurants, bars and cafes really get right – with examples that you can apply within your OWN business!
Every person working in marketing will tell you how important it is to know your ideal client. Your ideal client is essentially that narrow niche of people that you are trying to attract to your product or service. This is important for so many reasons. Number one, it tells you how to craft your message to speak directly to those people. Number two, it informs you where those people are hanging out and therefore where you should be focusing your marketing efforts.
The Bali places that are killing it KNOW THEIR PEOPLE.
Specifically, those focussed on tourists know that their people are in Australia/Internationals and therefore that social media is a huge piece of the puzzle when it comes to WHERE they need to be marketing.
Why? Because people are coming over for a holiday. Because they know that those people are posting about their holiday on their social media accounts. And because they know that those people have FRIENDS that will see those posts, that may come over for a holiday too and that they will be influenced by their mates and what they are recommending on social.
Seriously. Social media is word of mouth [aka the oldest marketing strategy in the world!] on STEROIDS. They know that tourists love uploading holiday pics and boasting about their summer holiday, and so they do some VERY cool things to encourage that, which we will get into in some of the upcoming points.
This one comes back to brand. One of the FIRST things that a branding expert will ask you to think about if you ever work with one will be your WHY.
In other words, what’s your reason for being in business over and above the obvious, which is making money?
Knowing what that is can be a huge leverage point, and a fabulous way to differentiate yourself from every other restaurant/accountant/[insert your industry here] in a competitive marketplace.
This comes back to really thinking about what your brand values are, and what you mission is when it comes to business. It doesn’t need to be groundbreaking or life changing, it just needs to be your bigger ‘why’ and reason for being.
Here’s a great Bali example.
A couple of weeks ago, the ‘Give’ cafe opened in Canggu. Their why? To give back to the community. In fact, they are a 100% plant based cafe that gives 100% of their profits back to the people and the places that need it most.
Now, this is an extreme example of course.
But it is such a great example of a business putting their WHY at the front and centre of what they do and then looking for ways to incorporate it into your branding and messaging on social media.
If this isn’t something you have given much thought to in the past, it will take a while to really come up with – that’s okay. Think about it over a few days:: what’s the big reason you do what you do?
For me, although I teach social media and content marketing, my much bigger purpose is to empower passionate women to get the business and life they really want, and so I also add a lot of inspiration and practical tips for doing this into my socials.
Another business that does this really well is Inspire accountants – their big why is to help people get Cashed Up so that they can pull more time with their family out of their business.
They incorporate this message into everything they do, and it really sets them apart from other accountants who simply focus on the ‘what’ – which is number crunching, and not very interesting!
Knowing your why will set you apart from your competition, and will give you plenty of social media content ideas at the same time!
I’ve said this before in the past, and I’ll say it again: it’s not about being a little cheaper than your competition. It’s about being completely unique and different. THAT’S how you win business in a competitive marketplace.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
There is a beach in Bali with a heap of warungs lining it. Warungs are little restaurants. Every single one looks the same, and they all offer 2 for 1 happy hour and other things to try and get people in. In other words, they are discounting – which is really a race to the BOTTOM!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
One, however, was painted with a big pink wall. Top to bottom. It was exactly the same as all of the others, but it had got a pink wall.⠀⠀⠀⠀
It didn’t offer discounts, and it was the only one that is always full.
It was different. Not a little cheaper – DIFFERENT.⠀
And so, it stood out.⠀⠀⠀
And it attracted people.
And it was WAY busier than the others. That lick of pink paint? Smartest thing they ever did! And guys, that’s the thing with differentiating your business! It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, it just has to make you a little different or better than the competition.⠀⠀⠀⠀
The take away here? Think about what YOU pink paint is!
There are so many Bali spots that do this in a really ingenious way!
The most obvious is the effort and expense that they put into their interior design. As I mentioned, it’s seriously NEXT level. Don’t believe me? Check out some of these interiors.
EVERYONE snaps photos at these venues and they end up all over Facebook and Instagram, straight into the feeds of future holiday makers.
One example of this is Kynd Community in Seminyak – owned by the same people who own the Give Cafe. I drove past this place every morning on my way to the gym, and regardless of the time of day it was full to capacity and then some more.
They do two things to encourage sharing, both of which have exploded their business and social media growth. One, they have a HUGE pink wall with flowers on it. It’s been photographed hundreds and hundreds of times; there’s a line of people at the cafe waiting to get their photo there. And two, they serve acai bowls and allow you to add a word – your name, or a greeting, or whatever you like – to it. EVERYONE orders these, and they Instagram them, and their friends and followers see it, and they want it, and they visit the cafe.. and so it grows. It’s simple, and it’s genius.
Another is Machinery Cafe in Canggu. They serve every meal with a little quote card with a nice little saying on it – as well as their logo. People Instagram their breakfast with the quote, and it’s a free ad for Machinery!
Baliboa in Seminyak also make the most of a huge wall mural; painted with Balifornia Dreaming. Everyone wants a pic of it, and staff make sure they come out with a business card asking those who do to tag them in when they do.
Influencer marketing is everywhere in Bali. Many rely on it to initially create buzz, attention and interest in their venue, and continue to invite influencers to dine for free to maintain it. Essentially, it’s about inviting people with big followers into their venue to take photos in exchange for free meals and/or cash.
I overheard a conversation with the owner of a brand new venue in Canggu called Fat Mermaid. For their opening party, they invited some of the [many] Instagram influencers along to create content and buzz and they mentioned that it’s the number one way that new customers had come across their venue.
At a restaurant called Aya Street in Seminyak, we were seated to two Instagram influencers invited to dine for free in exchange for content tagging them in.
Scrolling through Instagram, it’s obvious that it’s VERY big business for tourism-focussed venues in Bali; and understandably so. It’s a huge opportunity for businesses to reach large audiences of potential international visitors on holiday, it ups their ‘cool factor’ and it very clearly drives business.
Other businesses used this form of marketing more subtly. One in particular contacted me on Instagram because I was posting about other venues during my stay, and they asked me to come in for a free meal to ‘secret survey’ the quality of their venue. They never mentioned that we would need to post, but they had chosen people who would. We were impressed with the venue too, and returned when we probably wouldn’t otherwise have visited. It was a simple and clever strategy that clearly worked for them.
So there you have it, guys.
If you’re in a competitive or saturated marketplace and you are trying to leverage social media to stand out and get ahead, there’s a lot to learn when it comes to the way that these Bali venues are doing things.
At the end of the day it comes down to keeping the basics in mind, knowing your client and being creative in the manner that you execute what you do! Bali has taught me a lot about how to market on social media, and I hope that these tips help you too!